Fiorentini ‘Nowhere Near Satisfied’ With Haverhill’s Education Budget

(File photograph.)

Haverhill still has a long way to go to meet budget expectations, Mayor James J. Fiorentini says. (File photograph)

So close yet so far. On the heels of the Haverhill City Council’s passage of Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s $195 million fiscal year 2019 budget, the municipal leader tells WHAV he is “nowhere near satisfied” with the state of the city education funds.

In an 8-1 vote to approve Fiorentini’s funding this week, councilors made good on their preliminary promise to support the mayor’s efforts in the areas of public safety, education and fiscal stability.

However, $5 million in additional education isn’t enough to please Fiorentini, who disputes the notion that a 6.3 percent increase in the education budget can do nothing but keep services level.

“While we have made progress in education, I am nowhere near satisfied,” said the mayor. “That effort to do better and improve our standing has to be driven by the new superintendent of schools, following basic goals set by the mayor and the School Committee.”

In summing up the budget, Fiorentini did praise the efforts of the school district staff.

“We are adding money where it counts: Early education, after-school programs for example,” he said. “While other cities are cutting back on education and there are protests and layoffs, Haverhill is adding.”

Haverhill’s new Superintendent, Margaret Marotta, formally begins her work in the district on July 1. She’ll begin her tenure without a second-in-command, after Assistant Superintendent Jared Fulgoni departed the district for a top post in Amesbury.